5 Things: Coping with the Winter Blues – How to Keep Running in the Winter


When the days start getting shorter and there seems no end to the winter months in sight, keeping fit and motivated can be a real challenge. However, with some adjustments to your approach and the right gear, it’s still possible to stay on track when it’s less than inviting outside.

1. Goal Setting for Extra Motivation

If going for a run for the sake of it isn’t as appealing as it was a few months ago, thanks to the cold weather and inescapable darkness, it might be time to set yourself some new winter goals.

Entering a race or setting some distance or time targets to aim for will give you a reason to get off the couch and hit the road. When running for enjoyment isn’t an option, having something to work towards can be a real motivator.

It’s even better if you can rope a few friends into entering with you for some peer pressure and extra incentive to train hard.

2. Lunchtime Training

When the days are short, the best hours for getting outdoors are usually spent at work. If you can’t face running in the cold and dark then heading out in your lunch break can be the perfect solution. Just ensure you can make yourself look presentable again for the afternoon shift, after an off-road run through the mud.

3. Make Your Own Light

If you do decide to head out into the dark afternoons and evenings then make sure you go equipped. While most streets should be lit up as it gets dark, if you are going off road then investing in a good torch can be a real life saver. No one wants to be out for any longer than necessary in the winter nights so make sure you can find your way home with a reliable, lightweight torch.

4. Be Prepared

We all know it’s cold at this time of the year, but sometimes that doesn’t stop us going out in our regular outdoor gear. While physical exertion can be a great body warmer, coming prepared and being suitability wrapped up is probably the best approach.

Investing in the right training great can make the colder months more enjoyable for those who brave the weather and what’s more, the cooler months ensure there is less chance of getting too hot and sweating your way to dehydration.

5. Learn to Love the Rain

Let’s be honest, a bit of rain and cold winds aren’t going to kill anyone, at least not instantly.  If you want to enjoy the outdoors life then you have to take the rough with the smooth. It can’t be warm everyday so sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, man up and deal with it.

As the winter blues can put a spanner in the works of even the most ardent runner, here are two more bonus tips to see you through:

6. There’s No Running Like Snow Running

If you’ve never run in snow, you’ve never run. Taking to the trails in snowy and icy conditions brings a whole new dimension to running that you’ve been sorely missing out on.

It’s also a great excuse to invest in some micro spikes for extra grip on the snow and ice, while simultaneously turning your shoes into a deadly weapon – what more could you want?

7. Know When to Admit Defeat

If all the above doesn’t give you enough enthusiasm and inspiration for running outdoors in the winter months then it might be time to admit defeat and hit the treadmill. Treadmill sessions don’t have to be boring and if you’ve got no alternative then they are a great way to keep your hand in until the days start getting longer. Just don’t be surprised if you get some dirty looks for hogging the treadmill for some marathon training sessions.

Image credit: Kasia

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